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D-backs system weaker after trades

D-backs system weaker after trades

Before the 2008 season began, MLB.com took an in-depth look at every big league team's Minor League system. Now it's time to recap and analyze all 30 organizations, from top prospects to the recent Draft class.

In our 2008 Arizona Diamondbacks preview, we discussed how their farm system had been funneling young talent to the big leagues over the previous two years, culminating in a lineup that won the NL West division title in 2007.

The Diamondbacks came close to repeating the feat in 2008 before falling to a red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers team. Rookies played a less significant role in 2008 than they had in previous seasons, though there were still high points, notably the performance of 2006 first-rounder Max Scherzer, who looks to be a shoo-in for the 2009 rotation.

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Last December, the Diamondbacks sent six prospects -- including some of their brightest blue-chippers -- to Oakland for Dan Haren, leaving their farm system significantly weaker than in 2007.

Overall on the field in the Minors, the Baby Backs posted a disappointing 335-443 record for a .431 winning percentage, ranking 29th out of 30 organizations. Only their Class A South Bend club finished over .500 or in the playoffs.

Organizational Players of the Year

MLB.com Preseason Picks

Gerardo Parra, OF: Coming off the third straight season in which he'd stolen 20 or more bases, Parra also won the Midwest League batting crown in 2007, hitting .320 with 57 RBIs at Class A South Bend. He continued to impress in 2008 by combining to hit .286 with six homers, 52 RBIs and 28 steals at Class A Advanced Visalia and Double-A Mobile, but it wasn't enough to outshine a few Triple-A sluggers' performances.
Parra goes 4-for-4 with Visalia


•  Monday, Oct. 6: Washington Nationals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 7: Seattle Mariners
•  Wednesday, Oct. 8: San Diego Padres
•  Thursday, Oct. 9: Pittsburgh Pirates
•  Friday, Oct. 10: Baltimore Orioles
•  Monday, Oct. 13: Atlanta Braves
•  Tuesday, Oct. 14: San Francisco Giants
•  Wednesday, Oct. 15: Cincinnati Reds
•  Thursday, Oct. 16: Colorado Rockies
•  Friday, Oct. 17: Detroit Tigers
•  Monday, Oct. 20: Kansas City Royals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 21: Oakland Athletics
•  Wednesday, Oct. 22: Texas Rangers
•  Thursday, Oct. 23: Cleveland Indians
•  Friday, Oct. 24: Arizona Diamondbacks
•  Monday, Oct. 27: Florida Marlins
•  Tuesday, Oct. 28: Toronto Blue Jays
•  Wednesday, Oct. 29: St. Louis Cardinals
•  Thursday, Oct. 30: Houston Astros
•  Friday, Oct. 31: Minnesota Twins
•  Monday, Nov. 3: New York Yankees
•  Tuesday, Nov. 4: New York Mets
•  Wednesday, Nov. 5: Los Angeles Angels
•  Thursday, Nov. 6: Chicago White Sox
•  Friday, Nov. 7: Milwaukee Brewers
•  Monday, Nov. 10: Chicago Cubs
•  Tuesday, Nov. 11: Boston Red Sox
•  Wednesday, Nov. 12: LA Dodgers
•  Thursday, Nov. 13: Tampa Bay Rays
•  Friday, Nov. 14: Philadelphia Phillies

Jarrod Parker, RHP: We projected that the club's first-round pick in 2007 would earn top honors in his first professional season, and he did indeed come close. At Class A South Bend, just two hours from his Indiana home, Parker went 12-5 with a 3.44 ERA, striking out 117 while walking just 33 in 117 2/3 innings. He throws a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and has good command.
Interview with Jarrod Parker

MLB.com Postseason Selections

Josh Whitesell, 1B: When the Diamondbacks picked up Whitesell off the waiver wire from the Washington Nationals in mid-March, it barely caused a ripple. But by the season's end, the 2003 sixth-rounder out of Loyola Marymount had made big waves. Hitting .328 with 26 homers and 110 RBIs at Triple-A Tucson, he finished third in the system in average and led the organization in homers and RBIs before making his big league debut. The 26-year-old also ranked fourth in the Minors in RBIs.
Whitesell drives in seven runs

Cesar Valdez, RHP: A free agent signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, Valdez split the 2008 season between Visalia and Mobile, going a combined 13-8 with a 3.14 ERA and 140 strikeouts. He was second in the system in strikeouts and ERA and tied for first in wins. After a 10-3 start at Visalia, where he posted a 2.53 ERA in 15 games, he was named to the California League All-Star team. He struck out two in a perfect inning at the California-Carolina League All-Star Game before being promoted to Mobile after the game. His curve and changeup are his bread and butter.
Valdez fans his 10th

Climbed the Ladder

Bryan Augenstein, RHP: The club's seventh-round pick out of the University of Florida in 2007, Augenstein made his first full season one to remember. Between South Bend, where he went 5-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 13 starts and Visalia, where he was 2-4 with a 3.89 ERA in nine outings, he combined for a system-best 2.74 ERA and 99 strikeouts against just 14 walks in 131 innings.
Augenstein notches his second strikeout

Pedro Ciriaco, SS: The deft-fielding shortstop returned to Visalia this season, where he'd hit .251 with 20 steals in 2007. The 23-year-old improved by leaps and bounds, earning Cal League All-Star honors while hitting .310 with five home runs, 61 RBIs and a system-high 40 steals. He was seventh in batting in the Diamondbacks organization.
Ciriaco jacks a three-run homer

Jamie D'Antona, 1B: A second-round pick out of Wake Forest in 2003, D'Antona made a statement in 2008 by hitting .365 with 12 homers and 79 RBIs at Tucson. D'Antona, 26, finished third in the Minors in batting, played in the All-Star Futures Game and made his big league debut this season. His .604 slugging percentage ranked fifth in the Minors alongside a .405 on-base average and 35 doubles. D'Antona could have been acquired by other clubs in the 2007 Rule 5 Draft, but odds are he won't be available this December.
Interview with HR Derby winner Jamie D'Antona

Evan Frey, OF: A 10th-round pick in 2007 out of Missouri, where he was a teammate of Max Scherzer's, Frey hit .314 with 47 RBIs and 37 stolen bases at South Bend and Yakima in his first full season. Frey finished second in the system in steals and fifth in hitting while scoring 98 runs (tied for eighth in the Minors) and smacking 169 hits (11th).
Frey smacks a triple

Jarrod Parker, RHP: See selections above.

Max Scherzer, RHP: No longer a rookie after pitching 56 innings for the Diamondbacks, Scherzer continued his quick ascent through the Arizona system. The former first-round pick worked as both a starter and reliever this season, posting a 2.72 ERA in 13 games (10 of them starts) at Tucson and a 3.05 ERA in the big league club's starting rotation. He is slated for the team's 2009 starting staff and is seeing extra time in the Arizona Fall League this fall to extend his innings count.
Scherzer fans his 11th of the game

Cesar Valdez, RHP: See selections above.

Kept Their Footing

Barry Enright, RHP: The team's second-round pick in 2007 out of Pepperdine, Enright did not allow an earned run over 15 innings in his pro debut that summer while limiting hitters to a .157 average. He didn't have quite the same success rate in his first full season, but his 143 strikeouts at Visalia led the organization as he went 12-8 with a 4.44 ERA in 164 1/3 innings. He throws four pitches for strikes.
Enright notches 12th K

Gerardo Parra, OF: See selections above.

Wes Roemer, RHP: The Diamondbacks' supplemental first-round pick in 2007 out of Cal State Fullerton, Roemer was 7-12 with a 4.59 ERA in 28 starts at Visalia this summer. He walked just 33 in 162 2/3 innings while striking out 122, though he did allow 199 hits. He throws a plus slider and a fastball in the low 90s.
Roemer takes perfect game into eighth inning

Slipped a Rung

Javier Brito, 1B: Added to the team's 40-man roster before the season after hitting .327 with 11 homers and 72 RBIs at Mobile in 2007, Brito started the year at Triple-A Tucson but hit just .170 in 18 games before missing two months with shoulder problems. He batted .269 with 12 homers in 63 games back at Mobile after coming off the DL.
Brito drives home seven runs

Cyle Hankerd, 3B: A third-round pick in 2006, Hankerd was hampered by a wrist injury throughout the 2007 campaign, hitting .285 with eight homers and 54 RBIs at Visalia. He had surgery following the season. This year at Mobile he batted just .245 with five home runs and 52 RBIs in 125 games. The USC product has not yet regained the form that saw him hit .384 at Yakima two seasons ago, when he won Northwest League MVP honors.
Hankerd blasts grand slam

Esmerling Vasquez, RHP: The Diamondbacks' 2007 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Vasquez went 10-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 29 starts at Mobile that summer and led the system in ERA, innings (165), strikeouts (151) and average against (.217). But he injured his shoulder fielding a grounder in his final appearance in the Arizona Fall League last autumn. It didn't require surgery, but he was much less effective at Tuscon in 2008, as he went 3-6 with a 6.72 ERA, and moved from the rotation to the bullpen after 15 starts. In 83 innings, he walked 73 while striking out 57.
Vasquez gets back-to-back strikeouts

On the Radar

Reid Mahon, RHP: A non-drafted free agent out of Minnesota, Mahon has posted back-to-back impressive seasons. His 24 saves led the system by eight. He had a combined 3.88 ERA and was 18-for-18 in save opportunities for the Mobile BayBears before his promotion to Tucson. In 2007 he combined for a 1.62 ERA and a .206 average against at three levels.
Mahon picks up strikeout for the save

Josh Whitesell, 1B: See selections above.

Clay Zavada, LHP: Clay Pflibson Zavada, a strong candidate for the MiLB.com's Minors Moniker Madness in 2009, was originally drafted by the Diamondbacks out of Southern Illinois in the 30th round of the 2006 Draft. After posting a 3.10 ERA at Missoula in 2006, though, he left baseball for a year following the death of his father and returned to finish his degree. With the blessing of the Diamondbacks, he worked his way back into shape with an independent league team near his home. When he was ready, the club released power-hitting Brad Miller (22 homers, 91 RBIs at South Bend that year) and purchased Zavada's contract. This year at South Bend, Zavada allowed just six hits over the entire season. He was 3-1 with an 0.51 ERA in 24 games, striking out 54 in 35 1/3 innings and walking five while limiting hitters to an .056 average.
Zavada fans all three batters faced

2008 Draft Recap

1. Daniel Schlereth, LHP: The first-rounder out of Arizona is the son of former NFL lineman Mark Schlereth. Signed in mid-July, he tossed three shutout innings at short-season Missoula before heading to South Bend, where he posted a 2.00 ERA in nine innings over seven appearances, during which he allowed just three hits.
Conference call with Daniel Schlereth

2. Wade Miley, LHP: A supplemental first-round pick out of Southeastern Louisiana, Miley had a 4.91 ERA in seven games at short-season Yakima, striking out 11 batters in as many innings.
Yakima's Miley earns third K

3. Bryan Shaw, RHP: This second-round pick out of Cal State-Long Beach throws a fastball in the mid-90s and a hard slider. He posted a 6.75 ERA in 10 games at Missoula and a 4.03 ERA in 11 games at South Bend, striking out 16 while walking six in 27 1/3 total innings.
Shaw closes out a combined no-hitter

Others of note: RHP Kevin Eichhorn (3) is the son of former big league reliever Mark Eichhorn. A relatively late sign, he saw a few innings of action at Missoula. ... OF Ryan White (4), a Purdue product, hit .358 with 13 RBIs in 12 games at South Bend after hitting .274 with seven homers and 38 RBIs at Missoula to start his career. ... OF Collin Cowgill (5) led the Northwest League with 11 homers, drove in 28 runs and batted .304 in just 20 games at Yakima before moving up to South Bend where he hit .249 with one homer in 50 games. The Kentucky product has big-time power despite standing at just 5-foot-9. ... SS Justin Parker (6) signed out of Wright State. He is the older brother of Diamondbacks pitching prospect Jarrod Parker. ... LHP Patrick McAnaney (8) posted an 0.55 ERA in 32 2/3 innings (nine starts) at Yakima and a 1.50 ERA in four starts at South Bend. ... 3B Kyle Greene (3B) hit .302, ninth-best in the Pioneer League, at Missoula. ... RHP Trevor Harden (14) had a 1.91 ERA in 12 games at Missoula, striking out 64 in 42 1/3 innings. He signed out of junior college in New Mexico. ... Dallas Baptist product RHP Jordan Meaker (20) had a 1.47 ERA in 26 games in relief at Yakima. ... 3B Nelson Gomez (24) showed good power at Missoula, hitting .276 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs. ... RHP Jesse Orosco (38) is the son of the former big leaguer, and posted a 3-0 record and 3.72 ERA in 17 games in relief after signing out of Grossmont College.

Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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